Saturday, 21 April 2007


Reims was a great success. Although we arrived at the venue too late for a soundcheck, there was a 15-strong crew to help us unload and to set up, and everything was handled with the utmost professionalism - we even had a mirror with lights around it in our private dressing room!

We had some promo photos taken for the venue's newsletter, which will hopefully find their way to us before long.

I think because of long-awaited comfort and seclusion (and amazing catering) we were allowed at the venue, we performed the best we had all tour - the stage was large enough for us to move unhindered, the sound was absolutely clear, the tech crew were infinitely helpful. i ripped all the strings off my guitar at the very end, in celebration.

After the show we had a drunken UK vs US vs France basketball match in the venue's courtyard with the Thee More Shallows guys, and the Festival Carphanaum crew. I think we won, but no-one was really counting scores, or really playing on distinct teams.

and so, we begin our long drive home (actually, Reims isn't too far away from home). We left Jack there because we hate him (actually, because he was heading to Paris for a few days before coming back home), and we left that great continent.

thank you: Jeanne, Rudolph, Dee, Chavo, Jason, everyone at the Cartonnerie


we drove far too far to get to Angouleme - especially after losing all the time needed to fix our broken-down van in Barcelona. The landscape along the way, though, was beyond beautiful.

We eventually arrived at Le Mars Attack at midnight, at the same minute at which we were booked to play, and scrambled to get set up quickly enough to play a full set. Unhappily, though, it didn't seem as if people were really listening - perhaps because the situation was too confusing for us to play as well as we should have. The select few that enjoyed the show seemed to really enjoy it, though.

The barmaid at the venue looked a little like Isabella Rosselini, and was as insane as her character in Blue Velvet.

thanks: Steve, the Pyrenees, the barmaid, Matthieu

Saturday, 14 April 2007


We left Madrid at an unreasonable hour, because Brendan and Simon's girlfriends came to meet us and see their fellas for a day after having missed them for so long. John was pretty far beyond drunk from the night before, and passed out in the passenger seat with crushed crisps all over him, so Brendan drove for about 6 hours. He was driving in the name of love, and we were all impressed (sleepily impressed, after about an hour and a half of sleep).

Dan spent the morning with his girlfriend in Madrid, and planned to get the train to Barcelona in the afternoon, but could't get the train he intended to and ended up wandering round the Madrid suburbs for a while trying to find the tiny station he had been directed to to get the next available seat. Luckily, he found it, and found us, and I soundchecked his violin for him, so all was resolved.

Sergio, the promoter, was excellent and welcoming, and we enjoyed his company very much. It was nice, also, to hear some English accents in the audience, and a Big Scary Monsters t-shirt.

The show was successful - Brendan felt it was the best of the tour so far (and shouted "FUCKING COME ON!" as we reached the final crescendo), and even though it was insanely hot onstage, we had a lot of fun.

I did a short interview after the show, the questions were: "what do you hate most about rock and roll?" and "which band would you most like to play in", which i thought were far more useful and interesting to answer than the standard "where did you get your name from?" etc.

The van broke down this morning, and we were worried about the drive to Angouleme, but I'm writing on the French motorway at the moment, and all should be ok. Brendan, Jack and Olly are wondering aloud (loudly) whether we could become a band of muscular gym-heroes (there was talk of yndi-branded powershakes and dumbells for audience members), Dan is looking confused at his engineering notes, Simon is asleep in a heap, John is navigating and driving simultaneously with admirable skill, I'm feeling the cold I seemed to have developed prettily heavily and am very much looking forward to leaving the van.

We drove through some beautiful Pireneos villages this morning.

Thanks to: Sergio, Sergio's cats, Raphael, Natalia, Rosie, Nix, Nadine, the girl who directed Dan to the station.


the start of the afternoon represented a lot of stress - the Madrid roads are apparently far too narrow to accommodate a large tour van, and the venue seemed to be absolutely nowhere. We found it, eventually, and discovered that the stage was far too small to fit our equipment on, let alone us; so, we planned (and set up equipment accordingly) to play on the floor, but as soon as we returned from our meal, we discovered that everyone in Madrid was at the show, and there wasn't even enough room to stand anywhere except the stage. We could hardly move, and it was about as hot as the sun, but we had a lot of fun, and the audience members standing close enough to hear un-amplified guitars seemed to really enjoy it. Hopefully we'll find some photographic evidence of the stage size online somewhere.

Dan's girlfriend won some money betting on a football match, and used her winnings to fly over for the show, which as a nice surprise.

Thank you: Patricia, Monik and the rest of Fika Sound, Jose-Pablo and Ragoush, Michelle.

Don Benito

There was a poster advertising the show at every corner in the Don Benito city centre, and everyone we spoke to was incredibly enthusiastic about our set. I think we signed more CDs, posters (and a couple of shirts, and a guitar that the club owner had bought specifically for us to write on!) than at any other show. We were invited to play there every day.

John, our manager, first heard our songs in Don Benito (the club owner with the guitar played him the record a few months ago), so it was an odd, but lovely coincidence, that we had a chance to play there.

Everyone in the whole town seemed to know Yiye, the promoter, and we were welcomed everywhere we went at the mention of his name.

Apparently there's a video of the show online, i'll find a link as soon as i can.

La Rochelle

might have been the oddest show we've ever played. Apparently no-one in the town had even heard of the venue (we discovered it had recently changed its name - we managed to track it down once we asked for the old name), and there was hardly anyone except tourists anywhere. The food at the venue was beautiful, but the show was a little discouraged by the small crowd. Dan enjoyed it, though. We ate some lovely food from the local market the next day, and watched massive fish eat the bits of bread we threw over the harbour walls.

thanks: Marco and everyone else, the tramps and their dog.

We took a day off after La Rochelle, partly to recover from the lack of sleep and comfort accorded by 9 days worth of shows and travelling, and partly to make the vast drive to Don Benito more realistic. We encountered an amazing French wanderer who looked like Bonnie Prince Billy and was completely insane - he was singing loudly to anyone who would listen (and actually had a pretty good voice), and joined a bewildered family's garden party (and was escorted outside), sang us a song about Somerset in French, and shouted "ahh! le chien!" at a dog with an amazingly melancholy joy that has been imitated countless times by us at every available opportunity.

Apparently, i missed a drive up a mountain while i slept in the van.

Rhâââ Lovely Festival

The Rhaaa Lovely Festival was probably the biggest show we've ever played - an 800 capacity festival alongside Crippled Black Phoenix, Pelican, Rothko and A Whisper In The Noise among others. We got lost in Liege, and missed our slot, but the lovely Bracken swapped places with us and everything was fine. We played directly before Audrey, who were absolutely amazing, definitely my favourite live show all tour. We're planning some things with that band, we'll announce details as and when we can (and it will probably involve us going to Sweden). The festival served a beer from the Belgian village of Silly called Silly Pilsner - needless to say, we all stole the dedicated Silly glasses.

I rather fell in love with: the Belgian countryside, Audrey (jag alskar dig!), Silly, the girl who made us tea (she spoke English with a French accent, made great tea and looked like Sophia Coppola - what more could you need?), the entire Rhaaa Festival, Cotil-Wodon primary school ("les enfants jouent toutes les temps!").

thanks to: all of the above, Ronald, Stephanne, Frederic, Michael, everyone else at the Rhaaa, Anna, Trevor and the rest of Pelican, Joe and the rest of Crippled Black Phoenix, Bracken, Rothko, Marie, Geert, Luke and George.


We watched a mother duck jump up a ledge too high for her ducklings as soon as we arrived in Stuttgart, and then spent the next half hour or so wondering if there was any way we could help the babies reach the top of the ledge without upsetting nature. In the end we chose not to intervene, but the ducklings were, rather heartbreakingly, still at the bottom in the morning when we left. Olly shouted "you stupid bastard!" at mother duck as we left, and an old German man looked upset, maybe thinking we meant it for him.

Apparently on Good Friday in Stuttgart, there is a rule against dancing, so the venue set up little platforms with mats for people to sit and watch. We didn't pay attention to that rule, though, and rocked out a lot.

merci: everyone at Komma, Jeremy, O Stranger Bend My Heart of Darkness, the ducks


There was nothing to complain about at all for the whole Hannover show, everything was amazing - 2 full meals when we arrived, lots of fun running around the skateboard park in the platz with the venue's dog, a fridge full of beers and chocolate, lots of warm welcomes. The show was great, too. I fell off the stage at the end and managed to trap myself in the microphone cable from the stand i accidently kicked over early (and then managed to volley back in place before it fell, impressively).

the venue had a party for us after we played, which was a lot of drunken fun.

thanks: everyone at Cafe Glocksee, Ralph, Jasmin, Daniel, Alina, the dog

Thursday, 5 April 2007

Hannover, Berlin and Braunschweig

The food, drink and location of Glocksee in Hannover are all absolutely beautiful. We're the only band playing tonight, so have taken advantage of the time when other bands would be soundchecking to write a little bit of the new song. It's coming along really well, and at the moment looking like it's going to involve a choir (except Jack is too tone-deaf to demonstrate the part he had in mind). We're excited!

Tuesday's Berlin show was really fun. We were playing on the floor, and almost decapitated people with guitar heads often, but it was so inspiring to watch an almost entirely closed-eyes, head-nodding crowd as we played. We celebrated Jack's birthday in the city after the show, which was a lot of fun. Photos to come.

thank you: Tobi, Bjorn, Marcus, Kheira, Johannes

Braunschweig reminds me rather of good old Folkestone, empty streets and strange combinations of shops. Nice pizza restaurant, though. We hadn't had much rest after the Berlin antics, but played without too many problems, and even saw a couple of faces from earlier shows in the crowd. The tour stock vinyl is almost sold out now. We had more shouts for an encore and a longer applause than we'd ever had, which sounds like we probably played well, which is great.

Dan and Bren saved the van door from falling off.

There are lots of photos online, i'll post as many as i can.

These people are great and deserve thanks: Frank, Leander, allen key chap, fat cat.


We had coffee on the banks of the Rhine, and had our first conversations in broken German. The Kulturbunker was a stunning venue - high ceilings and chairs and a theatre-style stage in a WWII bunker. The evening was a joint cinema and live music sort of affair, so we watched 2 films and another band before we played. Apparently Gregor Samsa had played at the same place a few months before us to a pretty small audience, so we were happily surprised to see a full crowd.

I fell over onstage, Olly swapped a drumstick for a photo of the world's largest cat with a girl at the show, Dan bought a new pencil sharpener, Brendan discovered that someone had changed his name to 'boob' on his personal myspace, Jack burst out of the Kulturbunker lift at a daringly high speed on a trolley, Simon threw up some more, John's likeness was historically recorded by Jack and his fine penmanship in the Kulturbunker guest book (bands who play there - look out for it).

We saw the enjoy eternal bliss vinyl for the first time, which is lovely (thanks, Scott). The new posters are finally with us, also.

Olly almost had to relieve himself into a bottle in the van, but we found an autobahn rest-stop, luckily.

On the trip to Berlin this morning we passed Slayer's tour van and custom-decorated equipment lorry. We metal-horn'd out of the windows, they flashed their headlights and honked the horn.

Tonight we celebrate Jack's geburtstag ins Berliner technoclub.

Thanks to:
Til, Uli, Timo, Thomas, Felix, Jens and housemates


Our ferry left Dover at far too early for comfort, but we had sandwiches and pizza made for us as we left. We'd spent the day before writing new material, intending to play a new song for the Europeans, but couldn't finish anything we liked enough to debut live. What we started, though, sounded exactly as we intended it to.

The venue had free tea and coffee and biscuits, and Brendan drank too many chocolate milks. We didn't have much soundcheck time, and felt under-rehearsed, but the Dutch crowd were welcoming and enthusiastic. I broke a string mid-set, and my amp made intrusive noises as i struggled to swap guitars quickly enough to continue with the song. We hardly made any mistakes, though, and everyone we spoke to seemed to really enjoy it.

Utrecht is a beautiful city, and its people some of the nicest we've met. A million thanks to Lucas, and Stefan for the great night out and beer recommendations, and to Gerben for the show (and, in fact, almost every Utrecht local that we said hello to or asked for directions from).

I'm writing on the autobahn; Brendan and Jack have their sketchbooks open, Olly is air-drumming to Jim O'Rourke, Daniel is studying, Simon is trying to dissuade his belly from throwing up a third time, John is smoking out of the window, I'm counting down the kilometres until I can leave this cramped van.

the Koln show is this evening, where the enjoy eternal bliss vinyl will finally catch up with us, hooray!